Here’s the ptarmigan

I am back in Chicago, and Matthew asked me to post the solution to “Where’s the Ptarmigan [read “nightjar’] post. Here it is:

by Matthew Cobb

A tough one – you couldn’t enlarge the photo, and the bird was some way away. But I managed to spot it! Kate said to me on FB: “It was really tough to photograph, whenever it stopped moving I lost track of it!



  1. uglicoyote
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    As I understand it, light drives the change of plumage and if it doesn’t snow, white birds tend to stand out. Little snow in Alaska this winter, same as a few years back when I was there, so it might have been a tough year for ptarmigan.
    A tale about the town of Chicken, AK, possibly apocryphal,is that it got its name because of the large number of ptarmigan resident there. Seems none of those old sourdoughs knew how to spell ptarmigan so the town of Chicken was born.

  2. Jeff Lewis
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Even with the cross hairs, it’s just too damned small to see.

    How about this one:
    Spot the Ptarmigan

    Seems almost as fair.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted March 28, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

      …ah, good one, Jeff!

  3. CM
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink


  4. Yiam Cross
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s the product of a misspent youth hunting and shooting reinforced by a lot of dog walking in the countryside with one eye open for wildlife, but I spotted it immediately. I thought it was too easy at first but after a long hard look everywhere else there was no other option.

    Generally it’s movement that gives the game away in real life so a photograph is a far harder challenge but there’s something which kind of leaps out to the practiced eye. Or it could be a sixth sense, some kind of variation on water divining. Who knows.

    • Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Tough one.

      I was going to change my original answer to smack dab in the middle, because it looked like there was a birdie there, but I didn’t think it distinctly screamed ‘ptarmigan’! đŸ™‚

      (So what I thought was a pile of feathers was really a pile of pebbles. đŸ˜¦ )

  5. gravityfly
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Still don’t see it!

  6. Posted March 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the “still don’t see it” camp.

  7. Lars
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Um, what about the nightjar?

  8. Diane G.
    Posted March 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink


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